A New Season
New York Times asked subscribers, “What are the signposts for you that indicate fall has arrived?” and for me, September signals the end of summer. When I need to walk outside with a light jacket or wear an extra layer, I know that fall is just around the corner. When it’s time for me to reluctantly pack away my summer clothes, or exchange them for warmer ones, I know that winter will soon follow. I look for visible signs of Fall, the colourful leaves that are clinging to their trees knowing that the days will soon seem shorter, and the cool morning dew on the grass. Fall finally arrives in our house, when the furnace first kicks in again, after a summer’s slumber and I resign myself to sleep with a warmer blanket.
September marks a new season, of a new school year, new routines, and life adjustments; after all, our wedding anniversary also happens to take place during this month. September is no stranger to change, but sometimes, I find myself reluctant to welcome September, just as I am for Fall, even though it is my favourite season of the year here!
This year, in midst of sending our children back to school in person, we moved. I still feel like it’s very surreal, as I haven’t moved before, other than moving out of necessity. While j.w grew up in a fairly large house (4+1 bedrooms, 3+1 cheater ensuites), I grew up in a 1400sqft 1.5 bathroom house (1 shower for 5 people), so the house we lived in for the past 12 years seemed suitably fine to me! Because we bought new, I had no idea what to expect, other than 2D lined drawings of the layout and little square material samples.
It’s a really childish analogy for biblical truth but after seeing our new house in real life, it opened my eyes to what heaven must be like. Mind you, our house is far from heavenly, or perfect—far from it, but it was more spacious than I expected (with taller ceilings on the main floor), and the natural light brightens up our living space much more than our last place. We could only imagine what the tiles would look like against the countertops, or the carpet against the stain of the staircase, or the colour of the paint on the walls. Similarly, we might imagine what heaven looks like based on how the Bible describes it, but my imagination can only go so far and will miss the mark; words don’t describe it well enough until I see it for myself. Plus, my concept of heaven is probably wrong, just like how the carpet and the Gossamer Veil grey paint are darker than I expected, with the walls reflecting more of a warm beige taupe tinge, especially under artificial light.
j.w found a great number of friends and coworkers to help us move our worldly possessions, and we were blessed with a very lovely wooden extendible dining set that one of the church family members rescued from curbside garbage collection! With two weeks off from work, I was really productive in getting the kitchen, dining area and living room set up, but since then, it’s slowed to a crawl (limited to weekends, and some evenings). But, we hope to be able to use this opportunity to get to know our new neighbours (everyone is a new neighbour, so we’re starting on the same page) and to practice hospitality and inviting people over once this long-enduring pandemic has passed. There’s a lot more work to maintain a larger space, and the commute to the same school and work has now tripled (we use so much gas!), but here’s to new memories and adventures with each other and with new neighbours and their children (e.g. who knew that kids would enjoy playing in the mud so much, and sailing cork boats in the “beach” nearby?) as we take part in this growing community and still grow our relationships with our old community (new ones include a 婆婆 who speaks Cantonese with a Toisan accent, an East Indian mom from Bean’s friend in kindergarten, and a Christian mom with kids in both our kids’ classes who goes to another church in the community).
God, use us! May we use our time here and this space for your glory and to bless others.
What We Missed (or didn’t know)
Wildlife here seems a bit different than the other neighbourhood; we’ve seen a coyote wandering about a few times already, and I was startled by a brown snake (with black spots) in our garage today Thankfully, j.w took a corn broom and swept it out. I’m used to seeing garter snakes at our … Continue reading. While our purchase agreement warned us of potential noise from aircraft above due to the proximity of the local airport and the concrete plant nearby, I didn’t realize that our bedroom would face the floodlights in Rona’s parking lot beyond the trees, or that a train crossing is a street over. At night, if you’re sitting on the porch outside closer to the major street, you see a lot of light pollution and hear more noise pollution from the traffic going by, but the front of the house is quiet and you hear the strangest bird-like chirps in the dark. At the closest major intersection, I just got wind that they’re building a major gas station as well.
We didn’t know much about the builder when we bought it, but in chatting with our new neighbours and with the help of Google, we’ve discovered that while the builder is relatively new, it was an offshoot of Sun Point Homes, which have been around for multiple decades (I think the partners of the previous company split ways). This project was also their first pre-construction sale so that might explain the lack of guidance and centralization of design choices The freedom to choose an unlimited selection of colours and designs meant that some houses turned … Continue reading, or answers to lingering questions. Our neighbours told us that although the contract had given them options to select upgrades like a higher ceiling in the basement, when they had actually asked about it, they said they couldn’t because it was a spec home.
Although our address is on the city’s waste management site, they actually don’t come to pick up garbage, recycling, or compost yet, so we’ve been lugging our recycling and compost back to our old place, and just putting out garbage as we need. If we didn’t do that, everything would just be picked up as garbage designated to the landfill.
When we first moved into our old neighbourhood, we felt like we were at the city’s edge; now, I feel our old place is located centrally and in a great spot as everything we frequented was nearby, whereas our new place is far on the city’s edge. By the time we moved, we learned that the developer of the old community that we were in are related to a family from church, many more families from different ethnicities (seemingly more Koreans and East Indians notably) have taken up residence in our old neighbourhood, houses have sold for 1.5x more than our purchase price, and low-rise residential buildings now sit on what were bare fields of grass and farmland. We also can’t forget about my fight with creeping charlie, fast-moving cars on our street, the arson of neighbourhood Little Libraries, and that someone wrote some really cruel sayings on the forest path sidewalk directed to a “Bean” in chalk over the summer (how many people share the same name or why they did that, we won’t know). So, we’ll see what is in store for us in this next chapter!